Jacob Eason finished the Kentucky game with a pedestrian 131.88 passer rating. His sideline passes were erratic; he frequently looked uncomfortable in the pocket despite getting decent pass protection most of the night from his linemen.
But when he was needed the most, he ripped off a 4-4 performance on Georgia’s game winning drive and looked calm, cool and collected doing so. As Seth Emerson reminds us, it’s not Eason’s first rodeo in that regard.
Jacob Eason’s career is still very young, but he’s already led Georgia on two game-winning drives in the final minutes, and he had a third one taken away because of the other team hitting a Hail Mary.
“It’s kinda crazy, because every time we get in that situation we all feel like we’re going to win the game,” tailback Nick Chubb said.
There was the Missouri game, when Eason hit Isaiah McKenzie on a fourth-down, go-ahead, 20-yard touchdown catch in the final minutes.
There was the 48-yard touchdown pass to Riley Ridley with 10 seconds left against Tennessee. Only the even more improbable Volunteer pass completion prevented that from being Eason’s next big moment.
Then on Saturday night, Eason and Georgia’s offense took the field in a tie game with 2:47 left, 75 yards from the end zone. Perfect.
What’s the secret? Well…
It’s no accident. Eason’s background is in a spread offense, and his main adjustment this season has been to a pro-style offense. But when the two-minute offense arrives, he’s back in high school.
“That’s usually his game,” McKenzie said. “Coming from where he comes from, he had the spread offense. Here it’s similar but we’re three-wide, not five-wide.”
So against a Kentucky defense that appeared to be playing too loose inside the first down markers, Eason dinked and dunked downfield, completing four-of-four pass attempts for 42 yards to get Georgia in field goal position.
Eason’s situational stats suggest there may be something to this. On a quarter-by-quarter basis, his best passer rating comes in the fourth. And check out his performance in a tied game setting: he completes more than 70% of his pass attempts and has a passer rating of 171.26.
Perhaps somebody needs to take a closer look at what sort of sets and plays Georgia runs in tight games that allow its quarterback to function so well and incorporate more of that into the game plan on a more general basis. Perhaps.